Any common sense would say stay away from Landsend, not that I have anything against the venue or its owner, it's just that fishing it is a contribution to Tony Rixon's pension fund. That said, I've never been one to shirk a challenge, so Tuesday saw me in Tony's shop, trying to pick his brains about Landsend.
It took booking into todays match and £50+ worth of spend, to loosen Tony's tongue, even that wasn't enough to get the secrets of Landsend laid bare, but he did give me enough pointers to get me thinking.
The cafe at Shipham did some brisk business, as all the normally health concious anglers abandoned fruit and porridge, plates overflowing with sausages, bacon and fried potato being a common sight. With appetites sated, we set off for the match (After being outraged at some of the stories told by Tony Whitcombe, of the stupidity, of many of the public he deals with in his job as a Fireman).
The match was 4 pegs on the specimen lake, the rest on match lake, in many ways I like not knowing a venue too well, as when the card is opened, whatever peg number is staring back at you, it means nothing. Todays number was 19, Tony did give me some advice, although he was keen to run to his own peg, ( as Pete Sivell said - "another flyer, you won't mention that in your blog", I assured Pete that I would indeed highlight the fact in mine!!)
Determined to keep things simple, I set up three rigs, one for right across, an Impact 4x12 on 0.15 powerline to a 18 PR36 and a hair rig for hard pellet. A 4x14 Impact float on 0.15 powerline, 0.13 hooklength and a 18 808 to fish two lines, at 10 & 2 oclock with soft pellet. And, a Jean Francios Desque 0.4g to fish a line topkit to hand and a section or 2 added if the fish pushed out. This was 0.11 straight through to a 18 6313 hook.
At the all in, I fed two lines with micro pellet and some very soft 4mm pellet, caster on the near line and hard pellet to the island. Before I'd finished doing this, there was the sound of a fish being landed away to my left - behind already!! I started on the near caster line and caught roach that were about 10-12 to the pound, I persevered on this line hoping for the Perch to show up, they didn't, l but was pleased to slip the net under an Ide over 2lb.
Water temp was 9.5°C throughout the day. So, at last an increase on the 4-5° thats been the norm since before Xmas.
To cut the 6 hours short, the sound of Tony continually playing and landing fish became a little repetitive, I worked the far bank at 14m to the island & 16m into the gap, more than once the fish moved into the space between me and Mike West (peg 20), I didn't chase them down there, as I didn't want him to catch them!!
Fishing straight in front and to the left, I managed 12 carp, unfortunately they were around the 3lb mark, until the penultimate fish, this was nearer 8lb - no problem - well it shouldn't have been, it was determind to get into the roots on the RH side of my platform. I was equally determind to stop it - obviously (now) when you pull black hydro taught, it takes on properties way above its normal rating - it did today at least, as 6" of match kit No2 section snapped off as an angry carp bottomed out, said taught hydro. Ended the day with 12 carp most around the 3lb mark, with one nearer 8lb.
In the last hour I had increased my feed from 4mm to 6mm pelllet, this was enough to add 4 fish and steal last place in the money. I've a lot to learn about Landsend, I'll carry on trying to pick Tony's brain - but I'll never be able to draw like him!!!
I wasn't too disappointed with my fourth placed finish, there were some of the Landsend regulars there today - you know the guys, they have rigs ready for every peg, don't need to plumb up as they have a mental picture of every peg and fish it 2 or 3 times a week - OK slight exaggeration, but not much!!
Tackle dealers delight to day, (Except Tony's own 'accident' a broken No7), I heard a landing net handle snap and die, a No4 pole section and my own No2 section, it wasn't even windy!!
The day was rounded off by Tony wandering around with some electricians screwdivers and another parcel - like some bizarre prize and Dean Malin & Jason Radford trying to out do each other in the "who can hold onto the electric otter fence the longest" - I do worry about the gene pool!! (Although did Jason suss that one of the strands wasn't electrified, hence his 12 seconds and Dean leaping around like a wallaby on speed after 0.1 sec.)
1) Tony Rixon 157-11 peg 15
2) Tony Whitcombe 87-07 peg 31 ("and not a blob of paste in sight")
3) Mike West 53-10 peg 21
4) Chris Fox 48-13 peg 19
5) Dean Malin 43-06 peg 13
6) Andy France 42.02 peg 17
1) Ed Wynne 25-14 peg 25
2) Jason Radford 22-00